Vermont Press Releases

Vermont high schools get a ‘D’ in teaching personal finance, according to new Champlain College report

News Release — Champlain College
Oct. 19, 2015

CFL Director John Pelletier, Cell: (617) 548-6102, Office: (802) 253-6120, [email protected];

Stephen Mease, public information and news director, Cell: 802-578-8029, Office: 802-865-6432, [email protected].

Burlington, Vt.—High schools in the state of Vermont received a D grade today (10/20) for teaching personal finance. The grade was in “Is Your State Making the Grade? The 2015 Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools.”

The report card, prepared by Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy, grades each of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia on how well their high schools teach personal finance.

Vermont was one of three states to receive a D on the report card. The other two states were Montana and Wyoming.

John Pelletier, director of the Champlain College center, says a D grade means a state includes modest levels of personal finance in its instructional guidelines, but leaves implementation to local school boards. It is unclear how D states determine if schools are meeting these minimal financial literacy education requirements.

“Our grading system is based on the belief that, at a minimum, all students should be required to take a course that includes personal finance,” says Pelletier. “In Grade D states, personal finance concepts are often embedded in electives courses–if taught at all.” (see full report for details)

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The 2015 report card follows the original 2013 report card, which generated widespread media attention, but more important, discussion among state legislatures and organizations committed to improving financial literacy in America.

Pelletier notes that the 2015 report card is even more rigorous in its approach, and it shows that some states acted on the 2013 report and improved their educational efforts.

“Improvements are very gratifying, but we still have a long way to go,” Pelletier says. “We know that many Americans lack personal finance knowledge and skills. We need to educate all Americans, but especially our young people. High school graduates are about to step into the world of work, military service or college, and they need to have the financial skills to navigate a complex world. It is our hope that the 2015 report card will spur even more improvement in high schools across the country.”

Pelletier points to studies that show financial literacy is linked to positive outcomes like wealth accumulation, stock market participation, retirement planning, and avoiding high-cost alternative financial services like payday lending and auto title loans.

“With our high school students working hard in a new academic year, it is an appropriate time to reflect on how our high schools provide personal finance education to their students,” says Pelletier. “After eight months of intensive research, we have a final report card, and while there is improvement in some states, the grading shows overall that we have a long way to go before we are a financially literate nation.”

In addition to compiling data from various sources, Champlain’s center conducted in-depth research on each state’s policies regarding the teaching of high school personal finance. The center reviewed state laws and regulations, graduation requirements, educational standards and assessment policies, and clarified questions in discussions with education policy experts.

See the national release online at Pitch Engine with photos.

To read the complete report, see:

Press Release

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